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Elisabeth Page Grand Canyon UniversityEDU-522: Curriculum Design TheoriesDr. Heather HamtilFebruary 7, 2024

The Ways We Learn: Learning Theories Part II

Begin Here

Humans have great capacity to learn.




Adult Learning


How Learning Happens

Types of Learning


How Learning Happens

Types of Learning

3 learning theories to consider


How Learning Happens

Types of Learning


Cherry, K. (2022). What is sociocultural theory? Very Well Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-sociocultural-theory-2795088?print Govindaraju, V. (2021). Review on adult learning theory and approach. Multicultural Education, 7(12), 10.5281/zenodo.5701054. http://ijdri.com/me/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/41.pdf Goldie, J. G. S. (2016) Connectivism: a knowledge learning theory for the digital age. Medical Teacher, 38(10), 1064-1069. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/0142159X.2016.1173661 Pace, K. (2020). 10 Simple principles of adult learning. Washington Governors University Education. https://www.wgu.edu/blog/adult-learning-theories-principles2004.html WGU, (2021). Connectivism learning theory. Washington Governors University Education. https://www.wgu.edu/blog/connectivism-learning-theory2105.html

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students can collaborate with each other. Discussions, group work, and partnering to explore diverse topics are part of learning under connectivism. Making space for other ideas and viewpoints is essential for learning (WGU, 2021). Classroom diversity is necessary for students to make connections and incorporate new meaning.

Learning happens when...

is self-directed and should require the adult to be an active participant in their learning. Adults chose their own learning so they have a responsibility to get their needs met throughout the learning process (Govindaraju, 2021). Adult learners seek education most often to address a problem; new job, money, needed or desired skill (Govindaraju, 2021). They are intentional about their goals and pathways to achieve them.

Learning as an adult...

are George Siemens and Stephen Downes. Siemens' work focused more on the social aspect of learning. Downes focus was on the application of technology and its role in learning. A more modern theory, Connectivism combines the socail elements of how children learn together, with the advancement of technology (Goldie, 2016).

The theorists behind Connectivism....

George Siemens

Stephen Downes

Play! Play and social interactions are how we learn best according to the theory. Vygotsky believed that children learn through and alongside their peers (Cherry, 2022). Play and positive interactions with others will support a learner as they grow.

Learning happens because of...

Because play and socialization is different across cultures, this means children have the potential to gain diverse knowledge through their interactions.

society impacts the learning of the individual. So memory will be different for different learners depending on their culture and what they bring into the classroom (Cherry, 2022). The cultural experience and socialization of the child has a direct impact on the growth and development of their mind.Scioculturalism sees a child's ability to move through the zones of proximal development. As the child learns, their mind grows and the zone expands. Mentors hold important role as they guide and support learners through their learning potentional (Cherry, 2022).

Sociocultural states...

Lev Vygotsky who believed we learn from each other and are able to take what we learn and integrate it. A psychologist , he saw the zones of proximal development as the capacity of a child's brain to learn (Cherry, 2022). He believed culture provides supports to help the children’s brains develop.

Behind the idea of sociocultural theory is...

Adult learning theory is focused on adults and how they acquire new information. Learning for an adult is an independent process. It is based around andragogy- six principals that guide the adult learning process (Govindaraju, 2021).

Adult Learner

While children are often told to attend school, adult learners chose to undertake the learning process. Adult's experience is turned into knowledge and skill sets they can use to support their new learning (Pace, 2020)

Child Learner


learners make sense of new information by combining information, ideas, and concepts together. Memory is seen as a process of nodes and links. Nodes are any object/information that can be connected to another, while links are what connects those objects together to make meaning (Goldie, 2016). Thus, learners have multiple ways to learn new information by creating new links. Technology plays a major role in the theory and should be appropreatly inccorperated into the classroom setting. Accurate knowledge, amongst the ever changing landscape, is the goal of connectivism (WGU , 2021).

Connectivism believes...

  • why and how (clear goals and pathway)
  • self-concept (self-directed learning)
  • experiences (adults learn by doing)
  • readiness to learn (adults want/chose to learn)
  • orientation to learning (problem-based learning)
  • motivation (internal)

is Malcolm Knowles, an educator who believed adults learned differently than young children. He developed the theory of Andragogy; six principals of adult learning (Govindaraju, 2021):

The mind behind the adult learning theory...

Knowles believed that adults not only acquired knowledge differently than children, they also apply it differently (Pace, 2020). This led him to believe that one's experiences can transfer to become knowledge and skills.

“A strong start sets the stage for meaningful learning and powerful impacts. Teachers need to be mindful of the place their students are in the learning cycle. Surface learning sets the necessary foundation for the deepening knowledge and transfer that will come later." - Dr. Douglas Fisher in Visible Learning for Literacy, 2016

believes the role of the teacher is to scaffold and direct instruction to support moving students outward in the zone of development (Cherry, 2022). Because learning is a social process, the teacher is responsible for providing students with time for play and collaboration with their peers.

Learning in Sociocultural Theory...

encourages the teacher to establish opportunities for students to connect with each other. The teacher is more of a guide than direct instructor. The learner is responsible to create their own learning experience as they make connections between presented information (WGU, 2021). Social media, online platforms, games, and virtual world are a part of learning and should have a place in the classroom.

Learning in Connectivism...

when teachers are instructing adult learners. The teacher in adult learning is a facilitator and there to offer collaboration support. The role is less about directing the learning environment, as one might with children, and more about creating a space for independent learning to happen. Adults are driven to learn and do well in environments that offer multiple opportunities to practice their new skill set (Pace, 2020).

Roles have to change...